Whether we’re talking about Kim Bodnia‘s drug pusher Frank, Tom Hardy‘s criminally insane Charles Bronson, Mads Mikkelsen‘s mute warrior One Eye, Elle Fanning‘s aspiring model Jesse, or Ryan Gosling‘s stuntman/drug-smuggler characters, one thing is clear: writer-director Nicolas Winding Refn loves to build his films around a damaged, nuanced protagonist. Now, thanks to an extensive synopsis for his new film The Avenging Silence, it looks like Refn will continue that trend by focusing on a character that’s a distillation of all the anti-heroes who came before him.
Crouching Tigers, “a new destination for industry professionals looking for original opportunities for co-production and co-financing of their feature length film projects” as the International Film Festival & Awards – Macao describes it, put the logline and synopsis for Refn’s The Avenging Silence on display for our reading enjoyment (via The Playlist). And it’s a doozy. Refn is writing the film alongside “James Bond” screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, so you can expect the spy aesthetic to be particularly strong in this film, though it’ll be awash in Japanese influences thanks to its unique setting and plot.
Check out the logline for The Avenging Silence below:
A former European spy, accepts a confidential mission from a Japanese businessman exiled to France to take down the head of the most treacherous Yakuza boss in Japan.
Pretty good so far, but hold onto your butts, because here’s the full, extended synopsis:
The spy was one of the leading spies in Europe. An injury inflicted to his vocal cords during a failed mission six years ago left him mute, forcing him to leave his profession. Now, six years later, he is sought out and put on confidential assignment by a former Yakuza, now a retired Japanese businessman in exile in France, to track down and kill the head of the most dangerous Yakuza family in Japan.
Afraid of flying, our spy anonymously boards a cargo ship headed for Tokyo. An onboard explosion sinks the ship and our spy finds himself washed ashore on a life raft in southern Japan. As a mute, our spy must silently journey through Japan seeking 4 clues – symbolizing conquest, war, famine, and death – which will guide him to the unknown location of the Yakuza boss. Meanwhile, the Yakuza boss, known for his 2004 mass slaughter of Yakuza members who had turned against him, is believed to be plotting to reenter the Japanese underworld after living in his own surreptitious world in the mountains, void of all technology. This way of life becomes an obsession for the Yakuza boss. Rumors spread that he had committed suicide years ago but escaped prisoners from his hidden camp told stories of his plan for a comeback. Now rival Yakuza families suspect he is forming a master plan to return, a plan that unburies the most infamous story of Yakuza betrayal.
Our spy finds himself on an existential journey through Japan in search of pieces to the puzzle that will lead him to a confrontation with the ultimate Yakuza boss in a terrifying conclusion.
We certainly have a lot of thoughts, questions, and anticipation for this film (like, will Refn-favorite Gosling return for the lead?) but here’s what Refn himself had to say about the project:
I’ve always wanted to do a spy movie. It’s a subject and character I’ve been fascinated with since I was very little. I visited Japan many times over the last few years to promote Drive and Only God Forgives and I saw it has the perfect setting for a character I had been creating called Silence. And with the spy-film history that Robert Wade and Neal Purvis have, I felt they were the perfect writers to collaborate with on The Avenging Silence.
It sounds like everything’s coming together in the best possible way for this film. We’re excited to see Refn’s take on a mute assassin (who’s afraid of flying) coming out of retirement to ice a mysterious Yakuza mob boss while also taking an existential journey in his search for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, which act as waymarkers … how could you not be?!
Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments!